VAAs look forward to finding more homes for children in 2021 The start of the new year always feels like a good time for fresh beginnings - a time to set goals, make plans, and look ahead to the future. It may feel a bit more difficult than in 'normal' years to get excited about the coming year, but if you have ever considered adopting, this may be the year for you - and voluntary adoption agencies are here to guide and support you every step of the way. Critically, the pandemic has not changed the fact that thousands of children are waiting to be adopted from care in the UK. As of 30 September 2020, there were over 2,000 children in care who had been granted a placement order by the courts, but had not yet been adopted. A large part of our members' vital work is finding families for these children, all of whom have had very difficult starts in life. You may be surprised to hear that VAAs experienced record numbers of adoption enquiries last year. Some agencies fielded almost twice as many calls during the pandemic as they did in 2019! Many of our members have told us that they think the pandemic has given many people a push to reflect on their core values and the things that they want out of life - with many realising that there is no time like the present to find out more about adoption. All of our member agencies are open and accepting enquiries - some by phone, others by email or through their website. To find your nearest VAA, have a look at our handy agency-finder map. When it comes to the adoption process, much of what we wrote about in the first weeks of the pandemic is still true: VAAs are using Zoom and Microsoft Teams (as well as the good old-fashioned telephone) to undertake 'home' visits, deliver training, and connect you with other prospective adopters. We have heard about amazing WhatsApp groups in which prospective adopters who are going through training at the same time can connect and support one another, and organisations such as Adoption UK are also connecting adopters across the country. Approval and matching panels are happening remotely, which means they can be much more frequent and you don't have to travel! Each agency will have its own processes for this, and our members tell us that their adopters have really loved the flexibility of virtual panels. Agencies have now had a lot of experience in delivering virtual adoption support, and are constantly coming up with new ways to make sure adopted children and their families are getting the support they need. From virtual coffee mornings to one-to-one sessions to webinars to packs of toys sent in the post, VAAs are there for families at every step of the journey. If you are considering adoption, you can read more about the process here, myths about adoption here, and why you should adopt with a VAA here. Our members look forward to hearing from you!